The Castles of Scotland by Martin Coventry | Goblinshead | A comprehensive guide to 4,100 castles, towers, historic houses, stately homes and family lands
The Castles of Scotland by Martin Coventry | Goblinshead | A comprehensive guide to 4,100 castles, towers, historic houses, stately homes and family lands
The ‘Bible of Scottish Castles’…now available!
The ‘Bible of Scottish Castles’…now available! 

Linlithgow Palace

The ruinous but still magnificent courtyard palace of the monarchs of Scotland, set in a pretty spot on the banks of Linlithgow Loch in the historic burgh, and the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots.

Courtyard and fountain of Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace: courtyard and fountain (© Martin Coventry)

Lothians: In Linlithgow, on minor road north of A803, on the south shore of Linlithgow Loch, at Linlithgow Palace.


HES   NT 003774   OS: 65   EH49 7AL

 

OPEN: Open all year: Apr-Sep, daily 9.30-17.30; Oct-Mar, daily 10.00-16.00; last ticket sold 45 mins before closing; closed 25/26 Dec and 1/2 Jan. Weddings.

Tel: 01506 842896   Web: www.historicenvironment.scot

 

St Michael's Parish Church open to the public

Web: www.stmichaelsparish.org.uk

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace (© Martin Coventry)

Once a splendid palace and still a spectacular ruin in a picturesque spot by the loch, Linlithgow Palace consists of ranges of buildings set around a rectangular courtyard, and may include 12th-century work. Stair-towers, within the courtyard, lead to all floors and to the battlements, which run all round. The hall has been a magnificent chamber with an unusual tripartite fireplace, as has been the chapel, and there are many other rooms in this stately building.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace (old postcard)

There is a fine carved fountain in the courtyard, dating from 1538, which has recently been restored to working order.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace: fountain (© Martin Coventry)

The main entrance was originally to the east and dates from the 15th century, but this moved to the south in the 16th century. The north range collapsed at the beginning of the 17th century and had to be rebuilt.
  The small gatehouse, dating from the 16th century, defends the entrance to the palace and has gunports as well as painted panels for the orders of knighthood bestowed on James V: The Golden Fleece, St Michael, The Garter, and The Thistle.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace (MacGibbon and Ross)

The palace and palace park are prominently marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians and Linlithgow to the north of ‘Linlithgo’.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace (© Martin Coventry)

There was a 12th-century castle here, which was captured and strengthened by Edward I of England in 1301 during the Wars of Independence, then known as the Peel of Linlithgow. It was slighted, after being retaken by the Scots by driving a cart under the portcullis, and remained a ruin until about 1350. It was repaired by David II, then mostly rebuilt by James I at the beginning of the 15th century. It became a favourite residence of the kings of Scots, and the work continued under James III and James IV. James V was born here in 1512, then Mary, Queen of Scots, was in 1542.

Gatehouse, Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace: gatehouse with orders of chivalry for James V (© Martin Coventry)

After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the palace was left in charge of a keeper and the north range collapsed and was rebuilt for James VI.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace (old postcard)

It was last used by a monarch, Charles I, in 1633, although his son, James, Duke of York, stayed here before succeeding to the throne as James VII in 1685. In the 1650s, Cromwell had garrisoned the palace. It was also visited by Queen Anne with her father in the 1680s, Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and the Duke of Cumberland.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace: north range (© Martin Coventry)

In 1746 General Hawley retreated here after being defeated by the Jacobites at the nearby Battle of Falkirk. The soldiers started fires to dry themselves, and the palace was accidentally set blaze. It was never restored.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace (Slezer)

The palace is said to be haunted by a ‘Blue Lady’, who walks from the entrance of the palace to by the door of the nearby parish church of St Michael, said to be seen at around 9 o’clock in the morning in April or September.

Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace: great hall (© Martin Coventry)

Queen Margaret’s bower, at the top of one of the stair-towers, is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of either Margaret Tudor, wife of James IV, or Mary of Guise, wife of James V, although – it has to be said – neither candidate seems very likely. The apparition is described as a ‘White Lady’ in one account, and to be accompanied by a smell of perfume. An apparition of Mary, Queen of Scots, is also reputed to have been seen praying in the chapel.

St Michael's Parish Church, by Linlithgow Palace, a large, ruinous and impressive royal residence of the monarchs of Scotland and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a scenic location in a park with a pond in the historic burgh of Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace: St Michael's Parish Church (© Martin Coventry)

It was in the adjacent parish church of St Michael [NT 003773] that a blue-robed apparition is said to have warned James IV not to march into England – but the King ignored the warning, invaded England, and was killed at the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513. The church is a fine building.

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